Never does the wind blow hard that I don’t expect the giant red oak tree to finish falling. It leans like an old man’s umbrella caught in a gale. It’s rotting from the inside out, turning to sawdust at the ground.
“Them there’s yer termites, mam,” the tree man told me. He looked up a long time, taking measure of the branch span. He walked of the distance, thought some more and said, “Good news is, she’ll miss the house. But you can say good-bye to any vehicles in yer driveway. Them redbuds ‘ll be history too. And that there woodshed.”
“What should I do?” I asked.
“My uncle has the equipment. We can take ‘er down for ya now or cut it up when she falls. Cuttin’ it up’s the cheaper way to go, ‘cept for the cars of course.”
“How long until she falls?”
“Awww, now, mam, don’t nobody know that. She could come down with the next big wind or just keep leanin’ a little more every year ‘til the top weight pulls ‘er roots out of the ground. No telling how long that might take.”
That conversation was three years ago. I still haven’t decided. She’s beautiful, enormous and old. She gives a meadow’s worth of shade and squirrels nest in her arms. Only when the wind blows hard does the decision seem urgent and then only to me.
Left alone, she would have fallen in the forest and been home to beetles and bugs for another twenty years and eventually, the soil into and from which her great-grandchilden take root and rise.
As the forest is far wiser than me I’ve decided to let it decide. She’s been grace for bird, beast and me. Mine is to be thankful.
peace & prayers, pastor annette